Seeking Approval | Building Permits Save Problems Now, Later

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If you’re considering adding on to your home or remodeling instead of moving up, be sure to acquire the appropriate building permits before you start construction. While you may be tempted to bypass this layer of bureaucracy, when it comes time to sell your home it will be a lot easier with permits in hand.

Some buyers will ask to see permits that prove the work was done properly. There’s also a risk that buyers could sue you after the sale if somethinggoes wrong with your addition or remodeling project — e.g., a sinking foundation or electrical problem — and you can’t provide permits showing the job met local codes.

If you’ve already made alterations without a proper building permit, you can seek an “as-built permit” from your local building inspector or permits office. This permit forgives your short-sightedness, approving the site as it stands.

Take note, though, the inspector may want to take a look at infrastructure before awarding the as-built permit. This could mean checking for code compliance by excavating the foundation; opening the walls, ceiling and roof; and pulling out insulation. Once you apply for an as-built permit, there’s usually no backing out.

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How a Bridge Loan Helps You Buy While the Old House Is Still On The Market | Wilmington NC real estate

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Nobody wants to carry two mortgages on two homes at the same time. Sometimes, however, an overlap between buying a new home and selling the old one occurs. A bridge loan (also, “gap” or “swing” loan) can defeat the blockade, take the pressure off the monthly budget and provide down payment money that will make everything move along more smoothly. Traffic Blockade

  • Know what to expect.
      A bridge loan is a short-term loan for which the equity in your old home (and sometimes in your new one) serves as collateral. Various lenders charge different interest rates – often 1 or 2 percentage points above the current prime rate, or a bit higher than the current regular mortgage rate. Depending on lender’s requirements (appraisal, title search, etc.), closing costs can be anywhere from 0.5% to 1.5% of the loan amount.
  • Pay off when you sell.
    You may pay the loan off when you sell your home, or in monthly or quarterly installments. If your home does not sell within the specified term (often 6 months or a year), the loan is usually renewable.

Bridge loans are only one of the many tricks in our bag to help you smooth your move. If you’re planning to move soon, contact us by e-mail or phone. We’ll be happy to help. For more information and advice, please visit  Whether you are selling or buying, the information is there for you to use.

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Desire Change in Your Life | Put your Home’s Equity to Work | Wilmington NC real estate

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Put Your Home’s Equity To Work

With Six Savvy Strategies

Do you have idle equity sitting in your home that could be building wealth instead? One of the great aspects of homeownership is that you increase your wealth every month by building equity in your home and reducing your tax bill at the same time.

After you’ve been in your home a few years, you may have some equity that you could put to work for you. Even if the property has appreciated by just a few percentage points per year, significant equity can build up fairly quickly. Just be sure you retain enough equity that you’ll be able to pay a real estate agent’s commission when you sell the home.

Home equity loans are the most common means of tapping a home’s value. In states where home equity loans are not allowed, however, you can still put your home’s value to work by refinancing it for more than you currently owe–a “cash out” refinancing.

The first way most homeowners think of using their equity is to pay off high-interest debt. That’s one popular option, but you could also invest that equity in other ways. Here are six more ways to put your equity to work for you.

1. Trade Up

Using your equity as a down payment for a larger home could make financial sense. If you’re in a $200,000 home now and it appreciates by 5% each year, your gain is $10,000 for the first year. In five years, that home would be worth $255,256. But in a $275,000 home, that same 5% growth would be $13,750 for the first year. After five years, the more-expensive home would be worth $350,977 — nearly $100,000 more than the less-expensive home.

Of course, you may not be able to count on 5% appreciation every year. It could be higher or lower, depending on the state of the economy and market conditions. Not to worry, though. Even 2% appreciation will still add up over time.

Using additional equity to trade up will allow you to put a significant amount of money down on your next home. That could allow you to own a home you never could afford before.

2. Downsize

Another way to use your equity is to scale down. With the recent changes in tax laws, homeowners may sell a home every two years and walk away with tax-free profits up to $250,000 (for singles) and $500,000 (for married couples). By scaling down, you can purchase a smaller, less-expensive primary dwelling, and use the extra cash for investments, debt reduction or even purchasing an investment property.

3. Second Home

The real estate market has been fueled during the past few years by retiring baby boomers purchasing second homes. Maybe now is the time to purchase that home on the beach, at the lake or in the mountains. We can refer you to a knowledgeable agent in a resort area to help you with this move.

If you know you’re retiring to a particular area in the next few years, study that market now. You may want to buy the home now while prices are still affordable. If you do, you could rent the home during the peak vacation season. Many second homeowners discover they can just about cover their annual property expenses by renting out during peak season.

4. Investment Property

While the stock market often bounces up and down, many investors feel comfortable with the security of real estate. Not everyone has extra money to play the stock market profitably, but landlords can enjoy income every month. The secret is selecting the right property and finding expert property management if you don’t want to manage the property yourself. We can help with both these issues.

Some buyers have found it beneficial to purchase a property in the area where their college-age children are going to school. Their child can help manage the units and share the housing with other students to defray costs. The young adults learn responsibility and property management skills, and you have a live-in manager to watch over your investment.

5. Shared Equity

Another way to put your idle equity to work is to lend it to an adult child as a down payment for his or her first home. Some parents maintain a co-ownership interest while the young adult makes the mortgage payments. At the time of the sale, the equity is then split between the two. This is called a shared-equity arrangement.

6. Remodel

If you really like where you’re living, but desire a few more amenities, consider taking cash out for remodeling or adding to your current home. The interest paid on some home equity loans is tax deductible, just as it is with your first trust. Give us a call to find out what financing options suit your situation best.

Call us, we are the experts with expert partners in mortgage and everything real estate related. 800-497-7325-3607 or . Sign up for our newsletters and our weekly TGIF Scoop on everything Wilmington NC!


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To Fix or Not To Fix | 6 Staging Tips that are Worth it

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The survey is in and there are some low cost renovations that you can do to your home that will bring you more money back at the closing table.  Before you start,  go around your house and your yard and take pictures that you think would look good when the house is listed.  Take a good look at these pictures and you can pick out the things that need to be changed.  Like they say: a picture is worth a 1000 words.  You will see things that you walk by everyday and do not even catch your eye…. but they will catch a potential buyers eye.  The results are interesting and can help you prepare your home for sale.  We can help you with each of these steps.

The marketing company surveyed nearly 600 real estate professionals to discover which DIY home improvement projects give sellers the biggest return for their buck. Here are six projects under $1,000 (amounts are estimated) that made the list.

  1. Cleaning and decluttering.Remove any personal items, unclutter countertops, organize closets and shelves, and make the home sparkling clean.
    • $290 Cost
    • $1,990 Return
  2. Brightening.Clean all windows inside and out, replace old curtains, update lighting fixtures, and remove anything that blocks light from the windows.
    • $375 Cost
    •  $1,550 Return
  3. Smart staging.Rearrange furniture, bring in new accessories and furnishings to enhance rooms, incorporate artwork, and play soft music in the background.
    • $550 Cost
    • $2,194 Return
  4. Landscaping enhancements.Punch up the home’s curb appeal in the front and back yards by adding bark mulch, bushes, and flowers and ensuring current plants and grass are well-cared for and manicured.
    • $540 Cost
    • $1,932 return
  5. Repairing electrical or plumbing.Fix leaks under the sinks, remove any mildew stains, and ensure all plumbing is in good working condition. Update the home’s electrical with new wiring for modern appliances, fix any lights or outlets that don’t work, and replace old plug points with new safety fixtures.
    • $535 Cost
    • $1,505 Return
  6. Replacing or shampooing dirty carpets.Steam-clean carpets, replace any worn carpets, and repair any floor creaks.
    • $647 Cost
    • $1,739 Return

Realtor Magazine : Excerpted from HomeGain’s 2011 Home Sale Maximizer Survey:

Let us know if you would like help getting your home ready for the market.  That is our expertise and we love “before and after” photos! for all your Wilmington NC real estate needs.

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Copyright © 2017 Wilmington NC Real Estate Guide. All rights reserved. Disclaimer: All content on this blog is my own opinion and should not be treated as fact or relied upon when purchasing or selling real estate.